Facebook investing efforts in a better search engine

30 Mar 2012

Social network Facebook is working on overhauling its existing search system with a newer, improved search engine to better navigate the volume of data on its site.

According to BusinessWeek, Facebook has deployed two dozen engineers led by ex-Google engineer Lars Rasmussen to create a search function that lets users sift through everything from status updates to video, news and ‘Likes.’

The move is a necessary one because unless you are looking for a specific person or brand, a Facebook search is a shambolic experience at the best of times.

Since more and more people are sharing media and experiences, Facebook is becoming a mirror to humanity – or close to one-seventh of the world’s population.

The move would also make sense from a business perspective and could see Facebook rival Google in the US$15bn search advertising market.

The hard part for Facebook will be developing the algorithms that Google has long perfected and continues to perfect.

But in terms of many of the attributes of its Social Graph, search experiences around what people are doing such as what music they’re listening to, books they are reading, movies they are watching, etc, could be a boon for Facebook and the myriad of brands that advertise on the social network.

In related news, Google’s Marissa Mayer said that the whole definition of search will change in the next 20 years with the emphasis moving to predicting what users are looking for and knowing what they’re looking for before they know it themselves.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years